Saturday, June 14, 2008

So about that jam....

I said I would post my experience, and I'm getting there :) It's been a crazy week this past week. My last week at my full time job was insane (as I suspected) and there's been a HUGE fire in the area. It came dangerously close to my mom's house, but the firemen stopped it at the road, luckily. While it is still burning, my mom's house is out of danger, so I can finally relax a little. Okay, back to jam.

I made two kinds, Cherry and Apricot. Both were surprisingly easy. I finally found a cherry pitter at my mom's house and pitted 5 cups of cherries. I remember why I hated this job as a kid. My fingers were stained purple from the juice until I soaked them in lemon juice. Gross!

Then I threw the cherries in a big pot with lemon juice and took a cell phone pic when it was all bubbly.

Sweet. I tossed in 1/2 tsp of margarine to keep it from foaming, then scooped it into jars. Piece of cake! The hot jars sealed themselves and I went home to make my apricot jam. I was a little better about pictures this time, but I think that ended up being a problem.

Here is my 5 cups of chopped and pitted apricots.

And here are the apricots and lemon juice in the pot, with pectin.

Here I am adding 7 cups of sugar. 7 cups! It was way too many, even though it's what the recipe called for. blech. anyways....

Here it is bubbling and boiling like crazy. Yum. BUT...see those little black spots? I burned it. That's what I get for multi tasking.

Then, I ladled it into Jars. A note of advice for your own jam....don't just ladle it. Get a funnel! Not only did I ladle it into the jars, I ladled that sticky crap all over my counter. Fun times.

Then, I turned the jars upside down. (You'll notice I used paper towels for this. I broke my 6 month no paper towel freeze. I thought they would be more sanitary then a dirty old kitched towel.) After about 5 minutes I flipped them upright and one by the seals went "pop" as the jam cooled. This means that the lid is sealed, and the jam will last for a year. Well, at least I thought they all sealed. Except this trouble maker. It exploded instead.

And the final result of both:


So the good points: Made my jam, had fun, used up lots of fruit, it's pretty

And the bad: Too sweet! It's like diabetes in a jar, very messy, boiling jam burns when it boils out of the pot onto a finger, messy counter tops, time consuming.

So you'll notice there is no recipe posted on here. It was so sweet it's almost gross. I won't ever use it again (it was the recipe in the ball pectin package). My boss gave me an easy recipe for freezer jam, and my mom just called to say the peaches were ripe, so I guess that's next!

Monday, June 9, 2008

I did it!

I made Jam. And I am ridiculously proud of myself. I've also come to realize I may be the only person in the world who gets excited about Jam. Everyone I told or gave a jar too responded with an "oh, that's nice dear" and then gave me crazy side eye.
Also, I tried to take step by step pictures, but I've come to the realization that I'm no Pioneer Woman! I've also decided that she is either Magic or has three hands.
So, I'll have a few crappy cell phone pics that will follow that detail my amazing feat of making Jam (but drastically skip steps), and I get to cross something off my June list!
I've also picked a huge bucket of apricots that I hope to turn into Jam and/or freeze tonight, so I guess that's another thing I can cross off.

Friday, June 6, 2008

No Cherry Pitters?

It's Cherry season here in Northern CA. Big beautiful Cherries are everywhere the eye can see. There are trees in yards that are bowing from the weight, and stands on every corner. (Maybe not every corner, but I've seen several). My coworkers brought in two big bowls to share, and since it's the end of the week and they weren't going to get eaten they told me to take them home. Sweet, I'm going to make cherry jam, I thought.
Well, first I had a nap (don't judge me! You're never too old for a nap). Then I had dinner. Then I talked with DH and we looked for houses online. By 8:45 I remembered I had Cherries to pit, but no pitter. So I said to DH, hey, lets walk to Target, it's beautiful out and I need a cherry pitter. So we walked the 6 blocks to Target (Past a Linens and Things, which I'm kicking myself for). Would you believe that they don't carry Cherry pitters!? It's Northern California! There are orchards everywhere and you don't carry Cherry pitters? Do you not eat fruit?? C said, "See, nobody uses Cherry pitters anymore".

"Well, what do they use to pit the cherries, Smarty Pants? "

"Nothing. They buy Jam."